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More TV Makers Are Apparently Going for Passive 3D Technology

March 7th, 2012 · 18 Comments · Other S3D Tech


Lately there were a lot of news and speculations that more and more 3D HDTV manufacturers are going to be releasing passive 3D products, even top names like Sony and Panasonic that were solely focused on active 3D solutions are apparently going to be making passive 3D HDTVs. But is passive 3D technology better than active and what is the reason it is getting more and more interest from the companies making 3D HDTVs? Well, the major advantage is that products based on passive 3D technology are cheaper and easier to produce, and you can get dozens of passive 3D glasses at the price of a single pair of active 3D ones. Does that make passive 3D better – no, it does not, but for more price conscious customers these solutions are considered more attractive. Of course there is the fact that passive 3D glasses are easier to adjust and less people are having issues wearing them as opposed to active shutter glasses, but then again there are disadvantages in the passive 3D technology as well, one of the major ones being the reduced in two vertical resolution when in 2D mode.

LG Electronics is probably going to be the big winner of all this increase in interest in passive 3D technology as it is one of the largest manufacturers and suppliers supporting passive 3D technology, but the company is already looking beyond passive 3D – into autosterescopic 3D solutions. The other big Korean brand – Samsung is still one of the largest active 3D HDTV supporter and although they also had interest into passive 3D technology they have apparently abandoned what they were working on in terms of next generation of passive 3D technology. Up until a few months ago the company was in partnership with RealD in order to develop a passive 3D solution with true Full HD resolution in 3D mode as well, but apparently the work on that has been suspended until RealD finds another partner.

Now, setting aside the use of 3D HDTVs for watching 3D movies, if you consider the use of the larger screen TV sets for stereoscopic 3D gaming, the passive 3D technology is not at a significant disadvantage. The reason for that lies in the limitation of the HDMI 1.4(a) stereo specifications that currently pretty much limit you to 1080p 24Hz 3D mode and that is good for movies, but for games you would need to play in the 720p 50/60Hz 3D mode. On passive 3D HDTVs however you are able to bypass the HDMI 1.4 frame packaging if your middle-ware software for providing stereo 3D output supports Row Interleaved output and thus get 1080p 60Hz with half vertical resolution in stereo 3D mode. And there are actually quite a lot of people that prefer to get passive 3D for gaming due to this limitation of the HDMI 1.4 interface specifics than to go for an active solution and be limited in playing at 720p resolution. This of course is true if you are going for a 3D HDTV with the main purpose to use it for gaming in stereo 3D mode, but most people still by 3D-capable television sets for watching TV or Movies on them, not to play games in 3D. And while the same thing about the resolution of the passive 3D technology applies to 3D monitors, the active 3D monitors on the other hand support full 1080p resolution with wither 120Hz refresh rate in 2D mode or with up to 60Hz in 3D mode per eye (if the monitor is equipped with DL-DVI or DisplayPort interface). So for stereoscopic 3D gamers active 3D monitors are still the proffered solution and more and more traditional gamers are also switching to these 3D-capable active monitors in order to be able to use them to play games in 2D mode with the 120Hz refresh rate.

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18 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Johnny // Mar 7, 2012 at 22:27

    Just my opinion, but I’ve always preferred passive over active solutions. I directly compared active and passive TVs together with two friends who aren’t experienced with 3D, and we all agreed that the passive image (LG) looked far more comfortable and stable. I tend to see a flickering and “motion corruption” in active systems which annoy me, but I agree that the loss in resolution is a downside of passive systems, but this might be fixed in the future with 4k screens (http://www.theverge.com/2011/12/29/2667554/lg-announces-84-inch-4k-3d-tv-for-ces).

  • 2 eqzitara // Mar 8, 2012 at 02:31

    @johnny
    I can’t imagine their are many games that would allow you to run that high on the resolution nor how much GPU power it would need.

    I haven’t really given passive a chance, I always saw it as “the family” 3d set up/ people who have trouble with viewing 3d(headaches/eye tiredness). Perhaps I will give it another chance next time I go into a store that its set up.

  • 3 Greg Gilbert // Mar 8, 2012 at 03:44

    I haven’t really given actives much of a chance. I know I like passive TVs better but I haven’t seen enough active computer monitors to be sure what to think of them. I might buy an 3d Vision 2 monitor but till I get to try a demo out I’ll just stick with my Acer & LG passive.

    I don’t really think “half resolution” is the best way to describe passive’s limitation. That’s sort of like saying passives are only 2d since each eye is only seeing 2d. I think when we increase the resolution on passives we will still have their issue. What we have is the blocked FPR lines coming through that shows itself on certain colors most notably lighter ones. This causes the “window shade” effect. This noted “window shade” effect disappears as you move back due to your eyes not being able to pick them up due to them being tiny or when the color of the screen is a darker color that hides the FPR lines. When passive screens are increased to 4K resolution these lines will still be present but will be smaller and you might be able to get closer to the screen before you pick them up.

  • 4 Ronnie Schreiber // Mar 8, 2012 at 05:26

    Samsung is hedging their bets. Last year they made a $15 million strategic investment in MasterImage. MasterImage makes autostereo displays for cellphones and laptops in addition to their other business competing with RealD selling polarized systems to theater operators. I was told by MasterImage that they expect to have a 30″ autostereo display on the market in the next two years or so.

  • 5 Bob // Mar 8, 2012 at 09:31

    I’ve got a passive 3D TV, the Vizio E3D420VX, and I’m very satisfied with it. In the games that IZ3D supports, the 3D is great. The glasses that come with it are styled like normal sunglasses, and I can play games in 3D for extended periods of times without too much discomfort (beyond the eye strain that you get with 3D if you do it too long).

    My only complaint is that I just can’t get this TV to work with nVidia 3D Vision.

  • 6 Bob // Mar 8, 2012 at 09:32

    I meant 3DTV Play, not 3D Vision.

  • 7 Fguillotine // Mar 8, 2012 at 12:33

    i started in this with the first generation 0f 3D vision monitors (samsung 2233rz). Now i use and (old xD) Acer GD245HQ and an Optoma hd67 to play games and watch movies. One month ago i buy a Lg passive 3D TV and ok, it’s great to watch movies. Glasses are confortable and the half resolution is not a problem to me but…, if i use the same setting to play games that i’m use with 3d vision glasses the ghosting in the Lg is awful.
    I still think for people who really enjoy stereoscopic 3D (high convergence and depth) active technology is so much better.

  • 8 gilbery007 // Mar 8, 2012 at 18:39

    I originally bought an active samsung 50″ plasma TV and had nothing but trouble from day one with glasses losing sync etc. Took me about 3 months fighting with Curry’s and Samsung themselves to find a solution and all they did was keep sending me new glasses with different model numbers and none of them worked correctly.

    Eventually I moved to a Passive 55″ LG and I am very pleased I did, the 3D is spectacular when watching 3D Blu Ray and playing games through PS3, comfortable/cheap glasses as well.

    I also have an active ACER GD245HQ but barely use 3D with it, I find the 3D vision glasses are very uncomfortable the 3D in terms of Active or Passive is marginal although Active does have slightly better depth to it.

    If your single I’d go for a Sony or Panasonic Active display but for a family Passive is the way forward.

    Bring on autostereoscopic displays…

  • 9 BF3 // Mar 8, 2012 at 19:07

    Hi, can you explain how you get 1080p 60hz for 3d gaming with passive TV’s??

    You mentioned the middle-ware software providing this, does a 3d vision GPU do this?

  • 10 eqzitara // Mar 8, 2012 at 19:19

    @BF3
    http://3dvision-blog.com/6529-acer-hr274h-is-a-27-passive-3d-monitor-with-3d-vision-support/
    That monitor supports 1080p@60hz /2 passive. read more there.

  • 11 DrT // Mar 8, 2012 at 20:38

    Can you explain why “products based on passive 3D technology are cheaper and easier to produce”? I was under the impression that passive displays are more expensive to produce than active because of the extra polarizing element.

  • 12 Arioch // Mar 8, 2012 at 22:26

    I was under the impression that the 3D effect on a passive is not as good as on an active display – can anyone confirm or deny that? To be honest, I would rather wear deal with the shutter glasses than give up some of the 3D effect.

  • 13 eqzitara // Mar 8, 2012 at 22:58

    Its opinion based arioch. Passive cons: you have to sit further away, 1/2 resolution. Passive pros: brighter image, lighter glasses,(people claim less ghosting but I am not certain about that),no(or less) eye strain/headaches.
    I can see why certain people like it. I will give it more of chance some day but I really like sitting 4-5 feet away from my 70″ projector.

  • 14 Bloody // Mar 8, 2012 at 23:11

    DrT, passive 3D displays actually use traditional 60Hz LCD panels that get the polarizing filter applied over them, you can go with a very cheap 60Hz TN panel or with a high-end IPS panel, depending where are you positioning your passive 3D display, but most of these are for the lower price segment. And passive 3D glasses do not have any electronics, they just come with two different light polarizing filter, so they are very cheap to make. On the other hand with active 3D displays you are significantly more limited to what LCD panels you can use in terms of response time and size – not that many offer the fast enough speed needed for the high refresh rate, you also need to make a significantly more expensive and complex active shutter glasses.

  • 15 Ted // Mar 9, 2012 at 12:28

    Aren’t LG’s new line up of 2nd gen passive TVs dubbed “Cinema 3D” full HD as well as the 2nd gen passive TV’s from Sony and Panasonic? I was under the impression they didn’t have half resolution issues in 3D mode anymore.

  • 16 Bloody // Mar 9, 2012 at 14:16

    They are Full HD only in 2D mode, in 3D they are still with lower vertical resolution, although LG says it doesn’t matter much… and that the brain actually gets a Full HD image and other such things that may be helping create the confusion.

  • 17 Joao // Mar 14, 2012 at 13:04

    @bob you need the nvidia 3D vision kit in order to use 3D on your TV i have the same tv but the 32 inch and all i did was plug in the infrared cube that comes with the 3d kit or you can purchase 3d vision play or something similar to that. to sum it up you have to pay lol

  • 18 DG // Mar 20, 2012 at 19:25

    For movies, at least, my LG passive TV is better than any active ive seen including plasama. Their are no motion artifacts and the actives make the picture way to dark. Also the strobe effect I get from active glasses begins to strain my eyes after a few minutes. Headache follows soon after.

    The lightweight comfort of the nearly free glasses is just the icing. I do see the horizontal lines but it was never as annoying as the motion artifacts on active. Also with LG’s latest update, I can enable TrueMotion and the horizontal lines which werent too bad anyway, are gone. (dont ask me how)

    720p console games, upscaled then interleaved.. not so much. But still do-able, plus no headache after hours of playing.

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